Missed Fists: Celebrating 2019’s best one-hitter quitters, head kicks, spinning s*it, knee knockouts, more

MMA Fighting

Welcome to the latest edition of Missed Fists where we shine a light on fights from across the globe that may have been overlooked in these hectic times where it seems like there’s an MMA show every other day.

It’s the end of the year and that means it’s the perfect time to look back on the combat sports chaos of the last 12 months.

AL: Welcome to the second annual Fisty Awards, dedicated to the finest in regional, international, and other-dimensional action. We’ll be your hosts, “The Bad Boy” Alexander K. Lee and “Gentlemen” Jed Meshew.

JM: Wait a minute? Since when am I the gentleman?

AL: I was being nice.

JM: Pish tosh on that. I would like to be known as “Thunder Jesus” Meshew.

AL: There is literally nothing I can do to stop this.

So Thunder Jesus and I are going to present some of the best, most memorable highlights from the last year of Missed Fists, starting with the most exciting fights that were TOO HOT for your precious mainstream MMA promotions.

And I don’t think any fight fits that description better than Nnaemeka Nwoye vs. Apoaya Faruk.

This was a “sanctioned bout” in the absolute loosest definition of both those words.

JM: I am definitely sanctioning it retroactively because it’s the most enjoyable thing that happened in a cage this year. Look, neither of these guys is good, but they’re both perfect and if you can’t see why Nwoye throwing wild punches from his knees is the kind of stuff we value here at The Fistys, then maybe we’re just not for you.

AL: And if you can’t enjoy the finest in heavyweight action, then leave!

Of course, I’m talking about Aorigele vs. Jae Hyuk Heo.

Believe it or not, it was actually supposed to be Jerome Le Banner facing Aorigele instead of MMA’s greatest singer Jae Hyuk Heo. I know LeBanner isn’t exactly in his prime anymore, but can you imagine Aorigele standing with him… maybe we should be glad this didn’t happen.

JM: Isn’t in his prime anymore? What the hell are you talking about? JLB just took out Datsik last week. The Legend never dies. And at least JLB wouldn’t have put on his best Kalib Starnes impression. Probably because he’d have been beating Aorigele senseless but whatever.

AL: You’re right, I may have misspoke. Of course… wait, what’s that? *touches earpiece* Okay, the producers are telling us we should try and showcase a few “good” fights with actual “skill” and “substance,” whatever that all means.

JM: What kind of Bad Boy listens to his producers? Other than Biggie Smalls I guess.

AL: With that in mind, I offer Yojiro Uchimura vs. Shinsuke Kamei from Pancrase 304 (available on UFC Fight Pass).

This was just a great veteran vs. prospect fight, the kind of matchup that most North American commissions probably wouldn’t regulate given that Uchimura had 31 pro bouts going into this one and Kamei had, uh, three. Still, it looked like Kamei’s size was giving Uchimura problems before Uchimura started throwing caution to the wind and wailing on Kamei.

This was either a great learning experience for Kamei or he’s going to be scarred for life. Six of one.

JM: How freaking crazy is it that on the weekend of UFC 236, the best event of the year and arguably the best of the decade seeing how it had the two best fights of the year, another incredibly boss fight also took place halfway around the world?

AL: This is what people are missing!

That was one of the best fights of any promotion. I’d say the same for the rematch between Nate Landwehr and Viktor Kolesnik, one of a long line of exciting bouts for Landwehr who finally got that call from the UFC after this final M-1 title defense.

JM: This was so good I didn’t actually want Landwehr to get called up. I wanted him and Kolesnik to just fight each other every four months until the end of time.

But enough of this brilliant technical wizardry (though to be fair, Landwehr was throwing some Tekken-style uppercuts too), let’s get back to the business at hand of Fisty fights. I think we can all agree that there’s no organization more Fisty than Alaska Fighting Championship. And this year, one of their better outings was the one-round brawl between Chance Staggs and Chante Stafford (available on UFC Fight Pass).

AL: That’s the incorrigible Kevin Avellar delivering the “It’s all ovah!”

Stafford was a late-notice replacement making his pro debut and he fought like he absolutely did not give an F, which is the preferred attitude around these parts. He’s actually made a couple of appearances since then, winning by 16-second KO in his next fight and then losing by first-round submission after that. Kid is having a wild career so far and we are here for it.

Now that we have those real fights out of the way, let’s get back to the madness, specifically two of the best sub-one minute fights of the year: Guram Kutateladze vs. Felipe Silva and Louis Cosce vs. Art Hernandez.

JM: I said it at the time and I’ll say it again, more people need to throw wild and reckless head kicks when rocked. Just spam that leg in the air and see what happens.

JM: And in this one, it’s a good thing it only went 18 seconds. Because at that pace, around second 25, they’d both be heaving for air.

Honorable Mentions: Kiyotaka Shimizu vs. Yoshiro Maeda, Ian Garry vs. James Sheehan, Tyler Diamond vs. Jon Neal, Jamie Richardson vs. Phil Wells, Cee Jay Hamilton vs. DJ Fuentes, JJ Torres vs. Cole Jordan, Joe McColgan vs. Mehdi Ben Lakhdar

AL: And now the nearly impossible task of narrowing down some of the year’s best knockouts.

While scouring the planet for highlights, we’ve learned to evaluate performances based on skill, timing, impact, swag, gifability, among many other important factors.

One element that’s often over-looked? Audio. And that’s why we’re starting off with Diallo Abdoulaye’s thunderclap body shot of Angelo Bernardoni.

JM: It’s been almost a full month and I bet Bernardoni is still smarting from that one.


AL: That was such a scary KO. It’s so fast that it’s almost impossible to tell what even happened.

That’s actually a pretty consistent theme around these parts as a similar exchange unfolded in the Flavian Pilgrim vs. Sherwin Price fight.

JM: The other consistent theme for us is that the victim of the KO needs to fall in grotesquely comical fashion. Case in point, Gustavo Lopez vs. Joey Ruquet:

AL: Lopez is actually the Combate Americas bantamweight champion and he’s won his last three fights in the first round. Could be poised for big things in 2020, though I’m not sure he’s going to top that finish.

Last pick for me, have got to give some shine to Ewelina Wozniak for this truly vicious KO of Anita Bekus.

We’ve already listed some shocking KOs, but this one actually lead to Bekus having to be stretchered out.

Honorable Mentions: Khamzat Chimaev def. Ikram Aliskerov, Ryo Aitaka def. Karimian Sina, Kiyotaka Shimizu def. Taiki Akiba, Alex Pereira def. Donegi Abana, D’Angelo Marshall def. Daniel Skvor, Neha Kashyap def. Roshnee Khaira, Brendan Lesar def. Garreth McLellan, Asahi PK SaenchaiMuayThaiGym def. Satsuma Sazanami, Aep Saepudin vs. Hafid nur Maradi

JM: That last one disturbing enough that I’ll forego making any kind of joke about it and seamlessly transition us into the best subs of the year starting with this gem of a banana split from Kirill Gorobets:

AL: This one made my top-5 best subs list and I want to give some credit to Christian Lohsen too for pulling off this move a week after Gorobets did.

Let’s also remind people what Max Rohskopf did to Jonathon Morris, even if to this day I’m not exactly sure how to describe his maneuver.

JM: I believe the technical term for it is “big brothering” (or a modified twister if you want to get technical about it).

Speaking of weird modified submissions, let’s not forget the prayer choke Adam Antolin pulled off against Hiroaki Ijima.

AL: Ijima’s prayers… were not answered.

Perhaps he should have prayed to “Lord” Alfred Tenneson instead, though that may have just resulted in him getting gogoplata’d, like Westin Wilson.

JM: Getting gogoplata’d is among the most humiliating things in MMA, but this may be even worse. Thiago dos Santos was so close to tapping out Tiago Ramos in the battle for how to spell Th/iago. Instead, he was the one who ended up choked just moments later.

AL: “Tiago” it is!

Still, I’d rather be gogo’d or be on the wrong end of a competitive ground battle than have my fighting spirit literally snatched from my body as Devante Sewell’s was when he rolled with Ary Farias.

JM: If you recall, I was at that fight and I still have nightmares about it. And FYI, Farias went to a split decision in a grappling bout with AJ Agazarm a few months later. So yeah, the kid is good.

Honorable mentions: Victor Henry def. Trent Girdham, Kanako Murata def. Liana Pirosin, Mads Burnell def. Dean Trueman, Alexander Shlemenko def. David Branch

AL: Next up, everyone’s favorite: Head kicks! (Well, everyone who’s not on the receiving end of them). We’re focusing on MMA here, but there were a couple of truly menacing kickboxing KOs that we’ll get to in a second.

As for who had the best kick, that wasn’t as difficult to choose. Whenever someone gets Vitor’d, it’s almost a guaranteed win for whoever did the deed and that’s definitely the case with Asiashu Tshitamba.

JM: That’s a tough, tough one to beat but how about Bruno Ogro going full Aggro on Heder Araujo’s dome?

AL: Keep your hands up at all… oh wait, his hands were up. And he still got wrecked.

One more from the audio department, Yuto Hokamura lighting a firecracker in Toshinori Tsunemura’s face.

JM: My favorite part of that one is that every time I see it, I’m still convinced Hokamura has a shirt on.

Conversely, for this KO Robin Catalan did not have a shirt on and probably took his pants off shortly afterwards to celebrate. That’s what I’d have done anyway.

AL: I hate seeing the diminutive Gustavo Bulart getting the business like that, but that was a hell of a finish by Catalan.

We talk a lot about spinnin’ and winnin’, but we never talk enough about slippin’ and clippin’ like TJ Brown did here:

JM: Can you imagine what would’ve happened to poor old Ken Beverly if Brown hadn’t slipped?

Speaking of traction, my man Imam-Shapi Mukhtarov got plenty of traction to pull off the running switch head kick.

AL: Brown getting some air was an accident, but Mukhtarov was straight-up throwing a jump kick and he got all of it. If someone did that in the UFC, fans would lose their minds.

And before we move on, we have to mention Zhang Jinhu and Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit for authoring two of the nastiest kickboxing head kicks of 2019:

JM: I love Jinhu’s KO more than I would love my own children, if I had any.

Honorable Mentions: Ni Kang Kang def. Sunoto, Daorote Jitmuangnon def. Pohnsayam Sor Poompat, Ludovit Klein def. Joao Paulo Rodrigues, Riri Nasukawa def. Mari Kamikariya, Will Spann III def. Jordan DeJesus

But we’ve dillied long enough. Time to give the people what they came her for: the best Spinning Sh*t that happened all year and nobody spun better than Eduard Gafencu and his tornado kick KO.

AL: That’s really it right there, maybe the best highlight of them all. One of those once-in-a-lifetime strikes that Gafencu will probably be spending years trying to recreate in practice. He’ll never land it so cleanly again.

Playing for silver, not that there’s any shame in that are kickboxers Ma Tianyu and Riamu.

Both are absolutely vicious in their own right, with Tianyu swatting his opponent like a fly and Riaumu completing our trifecta of KOs that were as loud as they were devastating.

JM: You kind of forget how great year it’s been until the Fistys come around. You’re welcome, planet Earth!

By the way, do you know who spins like the Earth? Stephen O’Neil,

And Geje Eustaquio:

AL: Eustaquio gets bonus points for being the only body shot finish on our spinning s*it list.

And Shahriar Zolfaghari gets all the points for having the confidence to load this spin kick up for what feels like 30 seconds before landing it.

Honorable Mentions: Seietsu Kitahama def. Takaki Hosogoe, Luan Santiago def. Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady, Roman Ogulchanskiy def. Joao Paulo Rodrigues, Zhasulan Akimzhanov def. Migran Arutyunyan, Igor Pokrajac def. Maiquel Falcao

When it comes to these three knee knockouts, I’ll just straight up ask: Who Knee’d it Better?

Jonas Bilharinho vs. Junior Duarte

David Smielowski vs. Damian Zorczykowski

Youssef Zalal vs. Jaime Hernandez

JM: I still favor Bilharinho’s KO but we may kneed to poll the audience to get their thoughts on it.


Who Knee’d It Better?

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    Jonas Bilharinho

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    David Smielowski

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    Youssef Zalal

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Honorable Mentions: Toninho Marajo def. Vince Fricilone, Darrius Flowers def. Jonathon Thomson, Ryuichi Miki def. Manabu Inoue, Max Lima def. Nenad Avramovic, Pipe Vargas def. Saidyokub Kakharamonov

AL: As for the best of the rest, my pick has to go to Davy Gallon who landed maybe the best rolling thunder kick KO I’ve ever seen and against UFC vet Ross Pearson no less.

JM: Have you seen many rolling thunders?

AL: I stand by my statement.

JM: Anyway, Gallon’s rolling thunder is pretty obviously the KO of the Year. But I want to give a little love to Soe Win Than for using his head and slamming the consciousness right out of Thein Soe.

AL: Barely legal, just the way Thunder Jesus likes his fights.

Honorable Mentions: Stuart Stabler’s downward elbow, Islam Tsechoev’s slam-to-crucifix TKO, David Barkhudaryan’s delicious three-piece

Our last award was formerly known as the “He Fell Funny,” but in retrospect that seems a little insensitive and a little sexist. So from now on, the following category shall be referred to as The Humpty Dumpty Award.

JM: Thunder Jesus does not approve of this nor does Frank Costello.

AL: So put on Yakety Sax and take a gander at the unfortunate souls whose bodies decided to get funky at the worst possible time (by the way, special recognition for Cassius Chaney who has two entries here. Something about his punches just makes his opponents extra loopy).

Jose Johnson vs. Rafael Costa

Cassius Chaney vs. Joel Caudle

Cassius Chaney vs. Santander Silgado

Tang Kai vs. Sung Jong Lee

James Hendin vs. Joshua Onwordi

Willian Baraka vs. Douglas Wendel

Janet Todd vs. Ekaterina Vandaryeva

Who takes home the award this year?

JM: Look, each one of these beautiful souls is tremendous and deserving, but I’m always going to side with the guy who Flair Flops out of the ring. Joel Caudle, you sir, fell funny.

AL: I’m sure being recognized for this award will soothe his wounds.

That’s it for us this year, thanks to all the readers for coming along with us on this journey to the deepest and darkest, weirdest and wildest, and freakiest and funniest corners of MMA. Did we learn anything from all of this?

JM: I think we did. We learned that 2019 was a most violent year and, with any luck, 2020 will be too. Thanks to all the MMA GIFers out there who work tirelessly to make sure no great piece of MMA action goes unnoticed and of course, thank you readers for sticking with us. We hope you had a good time and see you next year.

AL: Until then, enjoy the following 2019 combat sports clips with almost zero context, which is really how combat sports is best enjoyed.

Floyd vs. Tenshin


Karate Combat

Mosh pit

Maurice “McGregor” Adorf

Pre-UFC Michel Pereira

Boxer clowns, regrets it

3-on-3 MMA

Innovative guard pass

150-on-150 knight fighting

“Rondinha” debuts

Samir Faiddine flips and flops

Asakura stuns Horiguchi

Super David

Paulo Bananada gets krunk between rounds

Good Guy Thales Leites

The next “King of Cringe”

“Popeye” fights

Mini Majik vs. Lord Kruszwil



If you know of a recent fight or event that you think may have been overlooked, or a promotion that could use some attention, please let us know on Twitter – @JedKMeshew and @AlexanderKLee – using the hashtag #MissedFists.

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